"Look! Mommy it's the Pet Store!" Five-year old Will exclaimed.

"Mmmmmm." Kendra Wagner remarked, swinging her young son's hand and sighting the small shop. Mother and son were walking along a small shopper's street in Washington, D.C. Hurried last-minute Christmas shoppers in wool over coats and glovers power-walked past. The street was lit with festive Christmas lights, and at the end of the street a larger than life Christmas tree stood. All of the sudden Kendra realized that this might be the last Christmas she spent with her son. The doctors had told Kendra she was going to die soon, from cancer, and she wanted to spend these last few days with Will.

"Come ON, mommy!" Will said forcefully, pulling Kendra out of her thoughts. They walked into the warm pet store together.

"Dogs!" Will yelled in delight. He let go of Kendra's hand and went to the back of the store. Kendra followed Will to the back, and went to the dogs he hadn't seen yet, but was sure to like. She picked up a small, excited puppy. Kendra smiled while the dog tried to lick her face.

"You are going to be Will's friend in my place." Kendra whispered to the suddenly still puppy. The puppy stared at her with his young face, but with eyes that seemed timeless.. Catching that eye of the cashier, Kendra pointed to herself, the puppy, and to Will. The cashier nodded her head in comprehension.

"Come on, honey. Time to go." Kendra said to will, and grabbed his hand and lead him out of the shop. "We have a lot to do before Christmas."

Christmas Morning

Young Will bounded down the stairs, eager to open his presents. Seeing that no one was up, he ran over to his parent's bedroom door.

"Wake up! Wake up!" Will yelled in excitement, banging on the door with as much force as his hands could muster.

Muffled voices came from within. Finally, Will's dad came out, fully dressed in day clothes. Some might have thought this peculiar at 6 o'clock in the morning, but Will and Kendra were used to it. Will's dad was in the military, so he was accustomed to waking up early and being neat. His appearance showed that. He went to go get a cup of coffee in the kitchen.. A few minutes later Kendra came out (finally! Will thought) and his dad came back with coffee. Time for the fun to begin!

Will ran over to the Christmas tree, and grabbed the biggest present under it.

"Wait, Will! Let me get the camera!" Kendra yelled. Will groaned. She came back a feew seconds later with their camera. While will was undoing the bow, he noticed that there were several slits in the side, as if deliberately cut by someone. As soon as the top was unfastened, an excited puppy jumped out. Will screamed in delight.

"What are you going to name it, son?" Will's father asked.

All of the sudden and odd look came over Will's face, and he replied, "Cavalier." Kendra and her husband exchanged looks but didn't say anything. The queer silence was broken when the puppy jumped out of Will's arms. Will ran around the room trying to catch the puppy, while Kendra snapped pictures. In his excitement, Will tripped over the box that the puppy was in. He fell to the ground, crying. Kendra went over to him, but not before the Cavalier did. The puppy licked the tears off Will's face, as if already taking Kendra's place.